Dear Nadine Dorries.
Following the example of some amazing letters I read yesterday that have been written to you on the subject of uteruses, I feel obliged to write to you to tell you about not one, but TWO uteruses! I hope that pleases you as I know you are extremely interested in uteruses.
The two sets of female reproductive organs I want to tell you about are both 24 years old and currently in excellent health. Neither of these ladyparts have had a penis inside them for a good few years, which I think you'd approve of, if it wasn't for the fact that they belong to my girlfriend and I, and we are a lesbian couple. I hope you feel able to carry on reading. If this tale wasn't already turbulent enough(cue X Factor style emotive music) they both OF COURSE have dramatic and tragic back stories that I reckon you will really enjoy.
My girlfriend's reproductive organs tried to kill her when she was in her late teens/early 20s (being a bad girlfriend I can't remember exactly when but it was before we met) by growing a large cyst outside one of her Fallopian tubes, which then exploded. I think this was kind of harsh of her uterus but she assures me she still loves it very much despite it causing her to be rushed to hospital, put on a drip for 30 hours, then operated on through cuts in her groin and navel. She had to take medication afterwards that kept her in bed for a month. She doesn't know what kind of state her fertility is in now, which kind of sucks, because out of the two of us she's the one who really wants to have babies one day. I'm not sure how much you care about that seeing as you didn't bother to turn up to vote on the sexual orientation regulations in the Equality Act and voted against lesbian couples being able to have children without proving they can provide a father figure.
My uterus has never done anything quite so dramatic, but it did do something very inconvenient when I was 16 - it got pregnant! Yes, I had sex with a boy. I went to my GP to tell her I thought I might be pregnant and wanted to have an abortion. It was my gut reaction. I was totally sure I did not want to have babies, not just because I was a secret queer and having a kid might cramp my style with the ladies, and was also in the middle of college, but also because I was suffering from severe depression. That was probably a factor in me sleeping with someone I didn't like and not being careful enough about protection.
Anyway, I went to my GP. But my GP was (ironically enough) on maternity leave, so I saw a different doctor who worked at my practice. This GP refused to give me a pregnancy test and claimed not to know where I could get one done for free. She told me to come back when I knew for sure and then we could 'discuss my options'. I went away, did a test, and went back when I could get an appointment a few days later. The stand-in GP tried to talk to me about maybe not having an abortion. When I was uncooperative and confirmed I wanted to terminate the pregnancy, she told me she was 'unable' to refer me to a clinic until I'd had further counselling as she didn't think I was sure enough. She then made me an appointment at the BPAS centre in my town for two weeks later.
Those two weeks of waiting were horrible, and made worse by the fact that when I went to my appointment, I found out out you could walk in off the street and be seen within hours. My GP had apparently arranged for a delayed appointment. My counsellor was pretty furious when I told her how long it had taken me to get to see someone from initially starting the process (three weeks). After a five minute chat, I had a scan, a cup of tea and was booked into a clinic for the following week to have an abortion. No pressure, no guilt, no problem. The 'non-independent' counsellor I saw listened to me, saw that I was certain, and didn't patronise me by taking up any more of my time.
The thing is, I'd already waited long enough. Because of the delay in referral because of my encounter with an uncooperative and retrospectively I think obviously anti-abortion GP, my pregnancy had progressed past the third trimester. This meant that I had to travel nearly three hours to a clinic in Bournemouth that would carry out the more complex procedure necessary. As I'm sure you can imagine, Nadine, it was bloody traumatic. It exhausts me to think about it. I couldn't tell my parents, I had very little support, and I was too young to have a clue that I could have contacted a clinic directly and had a next day appointment to terminate if that was what I really wanted. Which it was.
And this is really why I'm writing to you. Sometimes your lady parts let you down and need an operation so that you can carry on living your life. Just as my girlfriend knew when her Fallopian tube exploded that she wanted an operation to fix it, so I knew when I got pregnant at 16 that I wanted an abortion. The one encounter that caused it to be so stressful - with the GP - was the one encounter I had with a medical professional that was 'independent' from the abortion provision process. She was also the only person involved that didn't appear to have my best interests at heart. The huge delay I experienced in getting one didn't change my mind, it just made everything much harder and more upsetting. Women don't need that. Teenage girls don't need that. And our wonderful uteruses don't deserve that.
Love Kate. xx